posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 11:31 PM
In thread after thread, I'm seeing that people aren't really understanding the intent of our Constitution, particularly the first 10 Amendments,
better known as the "Bill of Rights". Many people like to cite the Constitution as giving us the right to free speech, bear arms, secure privacy or
choose religion and this just isn't the case at all. Instead, the Bill of Rights only protects those liberties from government infringement.
People seem to be confusing the Bill of Rights as giving us our liberties but that was not the intent and such a notion is wholly inaccurate. The
government is not supposed to provide us with our rights, rather we were born with those rights and the Constitution prevents government from impeding
on them. It's not so much about what you can do, as it is about what government can't do. The Bill of Rights doesn't give you your rights so much
as it prevents the government from taking those rights away. There is a critical difference between the two.
For instance, the 1st Amendment doesn't give you the right to free speech, religion or the ability to assemble. Rather, the 1st Amendment prevents
government from impeding on your right to free speech, ability to assemble or choose which ever religion peaks your interests, if any at all.
The same could be said about all of the other rights mentioned in the Constitution. God (whoever or whatever you believe him to be) gave you those
rights and the Constitution prevents the government from taking them away. Again, it's not about what you can do, so much as it's about what the
government can't do.
Why is this important? Because by implying that the government provides these rights for us, we are giving government far more power than they should
have. If the government can give these rights to us, then the government can also take these rights away, philosophically speaking.
Another consequence of misinterpreting the intent of the Constitution, particularly the "Bill of Rights", is that people expect the Constitution to
protect their rights in matters which don't concern government at all, such is often the case on this board. For instance, the 1st Amendment doesn't
really matter much in cases that don't concern the government, such as the freedom of speech on this board. I have seen quite often where people cite
the 1st Amendment to complain about their posts edited, censored or closed.
Other cases that I have seen on ATS to where people wrongly cite the Constitution, is in political matters where they use the Constitution or
Amendments therein as a basis for their argument against or for a political principal or opinion. For instance, in one thread, someone had asked where
in the Constitution does it say that homosexuals can marry. Remember, the Constitution doesn't afford us our rights so much as it prevents the
government from impeding them. This is just one instance out of many. Another instance was on the thread about the "ground zero mosque", where
people keep claiming that they have the 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion. While I have nothing against the mosque, the 1st Amendment
doesn't really have anything to do with it, unless the federal government is trying to prevent it from being.
It would seem that on almost every other political thread, people are wrongly citing the Constitution. They are giving the government far more power
than it does and should have. This understanding of the Constitution is also inaccurate and after all, isn't it our goal to deny ignorance?
[edit on 14-8-2010 by airspoon]